Saturday, April 30, 2016

Quick Lesson 2: Sources vs Information vs Evidence vs Proof

In March, DearMYRTLE started a new series of Hangouts on Air where she and Cousin Russ and the other panelists discuss the Quick Lessons found on Elizabeth Shown Mills' website Evidence Each week the panelists and any viewers who wish to, post their analyses of the current Quick Lesson two days before the Hangout, the Quick Lesson is then discussed live at 12 noon (Eastern) and recorded on You Tube.

I am in the process of catching up and decided to write a post myself related to Quick Lesson 2 to get my thoughts and understanding in writing.

Sources are the places we look for information. They are the family bibles, the vital records, the obituaries. This Matthews genealogy is a source.

What you are looking at is a copy but I have the original, so this is an original source or record. It is in good condition and it is legible. The handwriting and paper match a hymn to which my great-grandfather, Arthur Matthews, signed his name. Both the hymn and genealogy passed from his son, my grandfather, to his son, my father, to me. The date indicates that it was written a little more than two months before Arthur's death.

This source contains information; it states the names of Arthur W. Matthews' parents and siblings, their places of birth and death and where they were living as of Sep. 26, 1915. This information is merely content. We have not yet drawn any conclusions as to the accuracy of the information, we are just saying that this is information, raw data, or as Elizabeth Shown Mills says, "assertions".

If I am looking for the birthplace of Mark Matthews, my 2nd great-grandfather, this source offers direct evidence of that; it states that Mark was born in Coleford, Somersetshire, England.  That isn't to say that Coleford is his true birthplace, however, just that this source offers Mark's birthplace directly, just as it does the name of his wife and seven children (actually there were at least eight).

As for proof of any of Arthur's assertions, no one source can offer proof of anything. Proof is an argument that I will have to make after more sources have been found, more information gathered, more evidence analyzed.

My great-grandfather has provided some good leads, but the reasonably exhaustive search continues.
 Elizabeth Shown Mills, “QuickLesson 2: Sources vs. Information vs. Evidence vs. Proof,” Evidence Explained: Historical Analysis, Citation & Source Usage ( : [April 26, 2016]).


Michelle Ganus Taggart said...

Very well said! Sounds like DearMyrtle's hangout is well worth the time. I will have to check them out.

Dana Leeds said...

You did a great job of explaining the differences! I've been meaning to join those Dear Myrtle Quick Lessons, but haven't yet.